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Triangle Shirtwaist Fire

Every year this is marked in New York.

It should be remembered everywhere.

We have come a long way since the age of the robber barons. We do not expect kids to work. ( Some girls who died at shirtwaist were my daughters age or younger.) We have fire doors, we have workplace safely laws. We have legal labor unions. But please, let us be vigilant. We need to speak up for the rights of the people who just got here. In many cases they don't know what protections to demand for themselves.

We read of these sorts of disasters happening far away. But they can happen here. They do happen here. We are all neighbors.  We need to look out for each other. One of the most shameful things about the shirtwaist fire in particular, is that Harris and Blanck, the 'shirtwaist kings' were immigrants themsleves. They were two of the success stories. They had arrived in NYC with nothing. They made their money standing on the backs of little girls. if they had been raised in wealthy ignorance, I think I might find them a little more easy to forgive.



( 6 comments — Leave a comment )
Mar. 25th, 2014 04:39 pm (UTC)
Well ... we have legal labor unions for now. And regulations. I swear to Dog, though, I see it sliding backwards slowly, as there are more people who know nothing about life without unions and workplace safety regulations - and thus are ignorant about how their own lives could be much different in their own jobs as a result.
Mar. 25th, 2014 04:46 pm (UTC)
Yup. Exactly. You have to know what rights you have, and you have to be firm about them not being eroded or forgotten.

The early labor movement had to invent the protections, we just have to keep them.
Mar. 25th, 2014 04:54 pm (UTC)
You know, though, I wonder if that's not harder in a lot of ways. The conditions that spawned the early labor unions, such as under Samuel Gompers (IIRC on the name), got so horrible that it became a matter of once the first union(s) was in place, others were able to follow. Everybody knew somebody who'd been treated that badly, or they'd been taken advantage of themselves in the workplace so badly.

But now? As I said, we're so comfortable, comparatively, that we take regulations for granted. Many people are not educated as to what conditions were like before laws and unions were enacted, or they see unions only in the context of organizations that are large and corrupt (which are pretty few in the scheme of things). The GOP seems to have no problem getting more and more people to view unions and regulations as "freedom-limiting" and "government overreach." :-(
Mar. 25th, 2014 05:20 pm (UTC)
I was lucky enough to have parents old enough to remember the bad old days. Also I had it in school. (My schooling was a little strange, but what it did teach I learned well enough.)

Husband and I have passed this knowledge on.
Mar. 25th, 2014 11:02 pm (UTC)
I was in NYC last year on the anniversary day and went to the (former) Asch building for the memorial ceremony. It was good to see how many people showed up.
Mar. 25th, 2014 11:51 pm (UTC)
They often have singing at the services. Bread and Roses...
( 6 comments — Leave a comment )